Hamas Leader to Visit Iran, in Second Foreign Trip Since 2007

Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh recently returned to Gaza Strip from tour of Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia; Hamas says visits indicate growing international recognition of the movement.

An adviser to Hamas' prime minister said the leader will visit Iran, Qatar and other Muslim countries at the end of the month.

Yusef Rizka says the militant group's Ismail Haniyeh will embark on his second international trip outside the Gaza Strip. He returned this week from a tour of Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia.

Ismail Haniyeh - AP - Sept. 28, 2010

It was the first time Haniyeh had left Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory from the rival Fatah movement in 2007.

Hamas said the visits indicate the movement's increased international recognition, and the growing influence of Islamic groups in the region.

The internationally-recognized Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by Fatah, has been concerned by the warm welcome Haniyeh has received. It says his visits should be coordinated through Palestinian embassies.